Having chased her dream as a touring professional, former Yale University women's golf coach Mary Swanson was appointed the head coach of the Bradley University women's golf program June 21, 2010 by Director of Athletics Dr. Michael Cross and is entering her third season as head coach of the Braves in 2012-13.
During her two-year run with the Braves, BU individuals have claimed the 2010-11 MVC Golfer of the Year (Kelly Amundrud), three First-Team All-Valley selections and the 2011-12 MVC Newcomer of the Year (Thea Hedemann) to highlight the many awards earned.
Among her first recruits on The Hilltop, Thea Hedemann claimed MVC Newcomer of the Year honors in 2011-12 along with becoming the first Bradley freshman since Kelly Amundrud in 2008-09 to earn First-Team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors. Fellow freshman Christie Lin led the team with a school freshman record 77.6 stroke average and her 26 rounds in the 70's ranked second among BU's season marks.
Hedemann, who carded a school-record 68 in the spring, finished her rookie season with a 77.9 stroke average. Amundrud battled injuries throughout the season and finished her career with the lowest stroke career stroke average in school history (77.11) and was a finalist for the Charles Orborn Award after earning Academic All-District honors for the third consecutive year.
Among the many highlights of Swanson's first year at Bradley (2010-11), the Braves won the team title at the Butler Fall Invitational for BU's first team victory since 2008. In addition, Amundrud was voted the MVC Golfer of the Year; while Neufeld also earned all-league honors for the second consecutive year after posting a league-best and school season record 75.76 stroke average.
Amundrud was a two-time medalist in 2010-11, while Neufeld claimed the individual title at the Saluki Invitational. Combined the duo took home MVC Golfer of the Week honors following six of the team's 10 regular-season tournaments, with Amundrud earning the distinction four times and Neufeld garnering the award twice.
Now in her eighth season as a collegiate head coach, Swanson served as the head coach at Yale University from 2000-05, directing the Bulldogs to a pair of Ivy League championships (2002, 2003), in addition to nine regular-season tournament titles in her five seasons. Swanson's players at Yale combined for eight individual tournament championships, including the 2005 Ivy League medalist, 13 all-conference awards and five National Golf Coaches Association All-America Scholar honors.
During her collegiate coaching career, Swanson's players have combined for one conference player of the year award, 11 individual tournament championships, 16 all-conference selections and one conference newcomer of the year honor.
She left her position at Yale, however, to pursue a full-time professional playing career, qualifying for the LPGA's developmental Duramed Futures Tour each of her last five seasons. As part of her qualification, Swanson boasts four professional wins on the Moonlight Golf Tour and a pair of top 10 finishes on the SunCoast Ladies Series, both headquartered in Orlando, Fla., as well as five top 10 finishes in various state Open tournaments, including a runner-up at the 2009 Massachusetts Women's Open. Prior to assuming professional status, Swanson won the 2004 Connecticut Amateur stroke play championship, as well as the 2004 Connecticut State Women's Golf Association match play title.
In order to support her playing career, Swanson raised support by building and maintaining sponsor relationships and she formed the Limited Liability Company MKM Golf, LLC to manage her career. Swanson also has worked as a Golf Shop Coordinator and Reservationist at TPC Sawgrass, serving members, guests, PGA Tour executives and PGA Tour players on a daily basis. TPC Sawgrass was recognized as a Golf World Magazine "100 Best Golf Shops" for the 2009 Resort category.
Swanson maintained her connection to Yale by serving as the Assistant Coordinator for Golf Outings and Outreach in 2007. In her role with outreach initiatives, Swanson developed teaching programs for Yale Golf Course members and juniors, in addition to assisting with the existing Special Olympic and First Tee programs in New Haven, Conn.
Following a standout playing career as a student-athlete at Princeton University and one year working as an administrative assistant for the United States Golf Association, Swanson began her coaching career as an assistant at the University of Florida from 1998-2000. In her final season assisting the Gators women's golf program, Swanson helped Florida to an 18th-place finish at the 2000 NCAA Championship. She also earned her master's degree in exercise and sport sciences with a concentration in sport management from Florida in 2003.
Swanson won 16 collegiate tournaments during her undergraduate playing career at Princeton, including the 1997 Ivy League championship, the 1996 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference title and the 1994, 1995 and 1997 New England Collegiate Championships. A 1997 National Golf Coaches Association All-American, Swanson was a three-time NCAA Regionals individual qualifier and advanced to the 1997 finals, while also earning a spot on the East team in the East/West Match Play competition. She earned her bachelor's degree in history with a certificate in American studies from Princeton in 1997.
In addition to her coaching duties at Bradley, Swanson, who is a LPGA Class "B" member, serves as Director of Instruction at Metamora Fields Golf Club in Metamora, Ill. She holds membership in the Women's Golf Coaches Association and is a Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Professional (Level One).
The former Mary Moan, Swanson resides in Peoria with her husband Darmon.